I'll tell you what's wrong. Look at the deck statement: "Emanuel says BP apologist Rep. Baron would be chair of (the) Energy and Commerce Committee if GOP regains House." PolitiFact focused on Emanuel's fortune-telling and found it half-true--quite a feat in itself that PolitiFact was able to make a ruling on a future event months in advance, though I'd have cut Emanuel some slack (charitable interpretation) and take him to mean that Barton would the chair if Republicans were in power in the here and now.
But I digress.
Emanuel, in the immediate context, did not call Barton a "BP apologist":
Rahm Emanuel:In his subsequent remarks, however, Emanuel charged that Barton was making BP the victim rather than the gulf fishermen:
"That's for the Republicans to decide. What I think is more important, you can say it's a political gift for us, and it is. But it's dangerous for the American people, because while the ranking Republican would have oversight into the energy industry, and if the Republicans were the majority, would have actually the gavel and the chairmanship."
"That's not a political gaffe, those were prepared remarks. That is a philosophy. That is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here is BP, not the fishermen. And remember, this is not just one person. Rand Paul, running for Senate in Kentucky, what did he say? He said the way BP was being treated was un-American."There's a fine statement to fact-check: "They see the aggrieved party here is BP, not the fishermen."
The Republicans (some, not all) see both the fishermen and BP as aggrieved in light of the Obama administration's pressure on BP to set up a $2 billion fund entirely separate from its legal liabilities.
The PolitiFact deck feeds into the meme the Democrats will probably want to push during the coming election season. There was no need to refer to Barton as a "BP apologist," and that term may even reflect a failure of the author to understand the term "apologist." It may be that the intent was to say that Barton had offered an apology to BP. That's not what "apologist" means.
If it was an attempt at a clever pun then it failed the test of journalistic fairness. It is irresponsible to call Barton a "BP apologist" without explaining in what respect he defended BP. Certainly Barton was not in the position of saying that BP carried no blame for the gulf oil spew.
July 31, 2010: Removed an extra "to refer" to avoid redundancy.